The History of Chicago Lithuanians
(Chicagos Lietuvių Istorija)

Author: Aleksas Ambrose
Compiled by: Vilius Zalpys
Database Volunteer Chairperson:
Website/Database design by: Richard Gostautas

All databases are copyrighted © 1999-2008 by LGGS.
Commercial use or reproduction in any form is strictly prohibited.
(picture at right: Chicago Lithuanian Auditorium - 3133 South Halsted Street)

The database you see here represents months of work by a VERY wonderful set of volunteers (, Joseph Rajunas, Ellen Ewald, Jeanne Schell, John Rifilato) with information provided by Vilius Zalpys. Their constant effort and vision brought this database to life and we are happy to be able to present their work.

The information contained in this database is being compiled from the book titled The History of Chicago Lithuanians (1869-1959), authored by Alex (Aleksas) Ambrose (Ambrozaitis) and published by the Lithuanian American Historical Society in 1967 at the "Naujienos" printers. The information in the book included the history of Chicago Lithuanians, the history of clubs, organizations, associations, political activities, churches, books, choir groups along with a chronological history of the most important points for Chicago Lithuanians (to name a few). Included in this book was a complete surname index of everyone mentioned in the book and is represented in this database as part of Phase I of this project. There are three phases to this project as follows:

Phase I (Completed - Volunteers: , Joseph Rajunas, Ellen Ewald, Jeanne Schell, John Rifilato): Transcription of all indexed surnames into database. This database includes the associated page listings of where the surname is mentioned along with any accompanying biography. NOTE: Only a small portion of the surnames have associated biographies.

Phase II (Completed 01-Feb-2007 - Volunteer: ): Transcription of all biography listings into Word and then converted into .PDF format for integration with the online database compiled in Phase I. A very big "Thank you" to Jonas for completing this effort single-handedly!

Phase III (Completed 06-Apr-2007 ): Integration of biographies into online database. (NOTE: At this time, all biographies are in Lithuanian. We are exploring ways to have these biographies translated into English, but it will be a very large endeavor. If there is a student group from a Lithuanian-American Community that would like to assist us in this effort, please contact us.)

The following explanations are meant to help understand why some surnames are spelled in a non Lithuanian form in this Index. Because this book was meant for a Lithuanian speaking audience, the Lithuanian diacritical marks are included as they were found in the Index.

Lithuanian immigrants arriving in America prior to 1918 Lithuanian Independence came to this country with documents written in Russian, Polish or German. Arriving in this country, at a time prior to the wide use of Lithuanian as a written language, many people did not give it a thought to how their names were spelled. In Lithuanian circles, the names were always used in a Lithuanian form, but written down they were spelled in a Slavic or German form (later many changed to an English form). The reasons and explanations are as follows:

Hyphenated names:

Many names were hyphenated in the index or biography pages. Since the hyphenated names did not fit in the name column, they were added to "remarks" for clarification. However, the book does not identify which of the two names the individual used as his/her legal name. Many times neither of the names are the one used as a legal spelling in this country but was the name used in Lithuanian circles and thus the name given to the author.

(above - advertisement from St. George Golden Jubilee Book)

Hyphenated names with -evicius, -avicius, -ovicius: Many times in the index and more in the biography pages you will see names like Vaitkus - Vaitkevicius. The reason for doing this is that Lithuanians in this country began removing the Slavic endings from their names. The Byelorusian patronymic endings "vicius" was commonly removed . The hyphenated names (usually the second name) shows what the name was prior to arrival in America

Hyphenated names of females: Many females in this index hyphenated or used their median names as a middle name. Examples are endings like -aite, -yte, -ute. The author most times used the ending -ute. It could have been what people in Chicago were using at the time or just the authors choice.

Hyphenated names of English and Slavic spellings in Lithuanian are also found as follows:

Reasons for different spellings:
As a general rule, any surname not ending in E, A, or S is probably not spelled in a Lithuanian form.

CZ, SZ (CH, SH): These letters were used in Polish and Belorusian to sound out similar Lithuanian letters. Following Lithuanian standardization in 1918, they were not used any more. These letters today have a Lithuanian equivalent of CZ = c and SZ = s. The English CH and SH are also similar sounds and you will see some names mixing two or three languages .

W: This letter was used in Polish spellings of Lithuanian names prior to 1900-1918. But following standardization of the Lithuanian language in 1918, "V" was chosen to represent this sound.

Married Females in this index usually had the Lithuanian ending "-iene" . To find the family name, you need to remove the -iene ending and replace it with the appropriate masculine nominative case endings (-as, -is, -ys, -ius).

Titles and abbreviations:
Titles found next to the names are abbreviated. Nouns in Lithuanian, other then names, are not capitalized unless they are the subject of a sentence. The following table displays current abbreviations found in this database:


Click HERE to view this database (opens new window)!

Top | Back to Database Main Page

If you have a database or information that you would like to put into our database, that pertains to Lithuanian genealogy, please contact us at